What Is It?: Locke and Key- Welcome to Lovecraft hardcover collection (Written by Joe Hill, art by Gabriel Rodriguez)
REVIEW: With his first comic series, "Locke and Key," Joe Hill shows that he's already among the best of the best. The series kicks off with a six-issue arc, "Welcome to Lovecraft," that shows the Locke family moving into Keyhouse, a mansion their father grew up in, after the murder of their father by a crazed student at the school he worked at. The house is a mysterious place, complete with doors that enable you to leave your body behind for a while, and a mystery involving keys that turns out to be the catalyst for the main conflict in the arc. It's a fantastic way to kick off the series, leaving enough up in the air to maintain excitement for the next volume, but also ending the arc in a way that really satisfies. When reading the six issue series together in this beautiful collection, the scope, unity of vision, attention to detail, and character development make it feel more like a novel than a comic miniseries. Joe Hill isn't just a writer to watch, and "Locke and Key" isn't just a series to enjoy. With "Locke and Key: Welcome to Lovecraft," Hill has already put himself among the current comic greats, such as Brian K. Vaughan and Joss Whedon (both of whom he drops references to in the story), creating an engaging story that, like all the truly great works in any genre, truly transcends its medium.
Art: Just as good.
Ever since seeing his art in Chris Ryall's comic adaptation of Clive Barker's The Great And Secret Show, I knew that Gabriel Rodriguez was an artist to watch. He has a very specific style and certainly excels at drawing monsters and gruesome gore, but "Locke and Key" showed that he also nails the character moments. And Joe Hill writes plenty of tender character stuff that really allows Rodriguez to flex his muscle. The third issue even ends, instead of with a scare or a huge revelation as expected, with a really great character moment for Kinsey, which Rodriguez draws the hell out of. His art manages to be tender and relentless at the same time, and is nicely complimented by Jay Fotos' lush colors.
Presentation: When IDW knows they have something special on their hands, they really go all out with the presentation. Like the hardcover collections of Brian Lynch's Angel: After The Fall (personally, my favorite comic), IDW presents "Locke and Key" in a beautifully crafted hardcover edition that will really stand out on your bookshelf. Complete with a nice introduction by Robert Crais, a cover gallery, some concept work from Rodriguez, and even a bookmark, Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez's hit series is given the five star treatment. It's a deserving package for a brilliant series that fans of good stories need to own, medium be damned.